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New survey finds war for talent surviving the credit crunch

A new survey of over 900 employees and nearly 300 employers has found that businesses across the UK are still finding it difficult to recruit and retain staff, despite the economic downturn.

The survey, part of an annual programme carried out by recruitment specialist, Ochre House, found that less than 60% of respondents had been in their job less than two years and as many as 68% planned to change employer within the next six months. The most common reason cited for a move was pay (39%), followed by their employer’s culture and ethics (28%). 26% were considering leaving their job because of a lack of training.

These figures from individuals tie in closely with the results from employers. Whilst staff turnover rates were running around 30% per annum in the 2007 poll, organisations now reported that they had jumped to as much as 42%.

“Our surveys over the past five years have shown that career cycles among younger workers, the ‘Generation Y’ aged between 21 and 28, have been getting shorter all the time,” says Ochre House director, Jennie Emerson. “However we’re now seeing that this is spreading to staff of all ages as the old idea of long term loyalty to a company dies out. Organisations need to understand what really motivates their workforce and to adopt a clearly defined strategy for both recruitment and retention.

“This will be particularly important given the fact the survey found most businesses optimistic about the future,” she continues. Although over 70% expected that the UK economy would grow at a slower rate in 2008, less than 10% expected a recession and nearly 45% predicted that their own business would expand over the course of the year. However with 80% planning to increase salaries by less than 4% in 2008, addressing ‘softer’ issues such as work/life balance will be vital if this is to happen. “Employers will need to create an environment that gives their people the flexibility and variety they seek, together with the training and development to succeed and the autonomy to get on with it.”

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